Improving Our Communities
Community engagement is part of our mission at 7th Step, because we empower all of our members to help others and give back to the community. Whenever possible we hire our members, preferably ex-offenders, because we understand the barriers to finding meaningful employment with a criminal record. Instead of seeing a record as a liability, we understand the value of lived experience and how it can be harnessed to improve the community.
We are committed to supporting and partnering with other community organizations to help our members and strengthen social bonds because we know that strong communities make good people and make prisons obsolete.
Discover more about our efforts below and get in touch to stay up to date with our projects.
WHO YOU SEE HERE,
WHAT YOU HEAR HERE,
WHEN YOU LEAVE HERE,
LET IT STAY HERE!
How We Support
Our programs are not only for individuals who have had conflict with the law, to break the cycle of recidivism, they are for anyone who wants to change and be a productive member of society. Our hope is that by offering these programs, they may never see the inside of a jail cell (prevent recidivism). The 7th Step Society of NS is another tool to support individuals, in our communities, to find a better way to live.
Community Outreach Presentations:
Sharing our stories with community groups, schools, universities and treatment centres teachs audiences about the criminal justice system, what it's like to
leave an institution, what supports are available and how the 7th Step Society fills the gap in services for people who have had conflict with the law. (Deterrent)
Peer Support Training (28 training hours):
This program is designed to introduce the principles of peer support & the role of a peer support worker. It covers the fundamental aspects of peer support
to serve as the basis for program individuals to begin their journey
in the peer support field. We hope to facilitate this training program
within the community, in our province, and across Canada.
Reintegration Program (24 training hours): Planning for
Successful Reintegration into the community:
This program covers the following:
Week 1 - Stress Management, Recovery/Relapse Prevention.
Week 2 - Emotions & Self Management
Week 3 - Relationships
Week 4 - Future Goals, Bringing It Together, and Employment & Education
Week 5 - My Plan for Release, Community Supports & Making Connection
Street Group Meetings:
These are the single most important aspect of 7th Step because meetings provide a safe space for members to speak freely about their week, to share their struggles and successes, and swap potential solutions. Confidentiality is very important to 7th Step! The key difference of 7th Step from other support groups is the presence of volunteer members. Volunteers provide support in various ways from informal problem solving, connection building & emotional support
Taking Responsibility (17 training hours):
This program focuses on the 7 Steps: how can we change, change negative thoughts, attitudes, and behaviours through accountability of past
transgressions as well as being accountable for current choices. In
addition: discussions of strengths and weaknesses (including how
those strengths can help to succeed in the community), being real,
honest and responsible, goal setting, problem solving, and
developing new coping skills and strategies. We discuss how having
the desire to “do something different” with their lives is what will
assist with their successes - including staying away from negative
people, things, and events that originally led them away from their
freedom. The 7 steps act as guiding principles for our members as
they navigate life.
The Future Is Youth Program (FIY):
This is a NSCC program that collaborated with 7th Step to help individuals move beyond their experience with the criminal justice system. To be eligible the youth
must be a Canadian who self-identifies as Indigenous and/or Black,
be between the ages of 17-30, completed high school or GED, be
under court order within the last couple years & be involved with NS
community corrections (including mental health/wellness & domestic
violence court). If eligible, they would receive free tuition & funding to
cover college fees, and an additional $900/month for housing &
$500 for food while they study & attend NSCC.